Top Maui Now Headlines: August 30, 2018
Our headlines over the past week are pretty clear — concerns over Hurricane Lane began early last week, as residents began stocking up on supplies and securing their homes, bracing for the potential of a Category 5 Hurricane. Schools shut down, businesses closed early and many events were cancelled. The effects of Lane were mixed, with areas like South Maui staying relatively quiet, and other regions like upcountry and East Maui seeing heavy flooding. In fact, rainfall measurements between August 22 and 26 reportedly produced “the third-highest storm total rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the U.S. since 1950.” West Wailuaiki between Ke‘anae and Nāhiku saw the most, at more than 24 inches of rain over four days. Mountain View on Hawai‘i Island saw the greatest rainfall total in the state, where 51 inches fell in that four-day span.
The Hurricane also left more than 11,400 customers without power on Maui and Moloka‘i. By Sunday the 26th, MECO crews had restored power to most of the remaining 4,000 customers in Lāhainā, while working on small outages in West Maui, Kula and Ha‘ikū.
Fire was another huge story on the West side. While Maui County was under a Hurricane Warning, fire crews battled three brush fires within 10 hours from Mā‘alaea to Kā‘anapali. First came a brush fire in Mā‘alaea around 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, August 23rd, which burned 30 acres. Then, just before 1 a.m. on Friday, August 24th, a brush fire started in Kaua‘ula Valley near Lāhainā. Winds quickly spread the flames, which burned 1500 acres and forced the evacuation of 100 homes in the Puamana area; at least 21 structures and 27 vehicles were destroyed or damaged in the blaze. Then at 7:30 a.m. another fire broke out on Kā‘anapali hillside, burning 800 acres. Fire officials called the storm-force winds and challenging conditions they were fighting in “some of the most adverse the Maui Fire Department has faced in recent history.” A Maui police investigation has so far shown no criminal intent, with authorities saying that high winds affected power lines, but the exact origin is undetermined.
Residents responded quickly with help and support going out to the West side in many forms — professional chefs mobilized to feed emergency crews and those in need…and others came through with donations. The fires happened Saturday, and by Sunday morning, a total of $60,352 had been raised toward a goal of $100,000 to assist families affected by the West Maui fires. That was all from the Lāhainā Strong fundraiser, launched by West Maui resident Jordan Ruidas through Facebook. Fleetwood’s on Front Street has now put together a benefit concert with a big lineup of local musicians, happening on Saturday night, September 1st to benefit Lāhainā Strong. There’s also a community donation drive to support the fire victims during the next two “Maui Sunday Market” events at Kahului Shopping Center on Sept. 2th and 9th. The event is organized by the Maui Food Technology Center, and they’re requesting items like baby formula, camping tents and cleaning supplies to help families.